What’s a photographer to do in a pandemic? I’m someone who likes to photograph people most of all. I need to avoid people as much as possible right now. And when I’m around others, I can’t photograph them in the close manner I’m accustomed to.
So I spend a lot of time outdoors. And with my family. I’m fortunate to live with 6 other people and I never take that for granted. I look at this as my professional blog, so I try not to focus too much on my family, even though they’re with me for nearly every shoot that isn’t for a client.
This is an unprecedented time in our recent history. I don’t think I need to draw hard lines between “personal” and “professional.” My family is here experiencing this pandemic with me. We go to local parks and playgrounds. These are the things I photograph.
My brain tells me these shoots get repetitive. But my spirit knows that each time I go out with my camera, new things happen – things that will only happen one time in the course of human existence – and I’m there to document and interpret them.
So, here’s my visual journal entry for this week. We spent time in a brand new environment to us: Eagle Creek Park on the NW side of Indianapolis. We walked, climbed, thought, poked at things, broke ice, fell down, wrestled, and took in the rare Indiana winter sun.
It’s been nine months since I started making these quarantine stories. Here are a few of the first ones from last spring.
Flat Fork Creek Park is tucked away in the southeast corner of Fishers, Indiana. During this trip, Zach seeks different ways to capture the feel of this park at this time of year.
A bright sunny noon hour doesn’t often make for great photography, but sometimes you have to make the best of a situation! Giant clouds and blue skies are features of a midday shoot that I can use to my advantage.
Harsh sunlight can make photos boring and flat with washed out colors and dark shadows. During this shoot I took a wider view and utilized the big sky to add perspective and keep the images interesting.
For more photography tips while shooting in midday light, check out my free handy download. It has (more than) 5 helpful tips to make better images in bright sunlight.
Contrasts always catch my eye. Whether it’s contrasts in tone, color or subject matter, I like to find ways to document them with my camera. This post examines the contrasts at a new Carmel, Indiana pool.
Pool Open During Construction
Our neighborhood has a new pool this year and the area around it is still under construction. This gave me a chance to shoot a lot of those contrasts that I like.
There’s the bright blue water and colorful swimsuits next to the expanse of dirt. Another contrast is the smoothness of the water and new concrete against the footprints left by construction equipment. And the most obvious contrast to me is the shiny, sparkling new pool set against the completely raw, unfinished site around it.
On this day there’s a hard-to-miss a bulldozer circling the pool. The rumbling of a diesel engine, the crunch of dirt and rock, plus the squeak of the metal tracks provides an interesting contrast against the splashing and yelling of children. Below is a video clip I shot on my iPhone. Turn on the sound to get an idea of what it feels like to be there.
Thanks for checking out my photos of construction at a Carmel, Indiana pool. Here are some family activity posts you’ll want to check out.
Sometimes creation is destruction. That’s definitely the case with this Crayola sidewalk chalk. It tends to happen when the chalk is worn, broken, left in the rain, dried out and then left in the rain again. Or sometimes it happens with a new box. You can never be sure when the urge will strike.
With these photos and video, I look to capture the light-hearted fun, curiosity and experimentation that is happening.
Today we present a photo story of a young artist discovering a delicious medium. One of the many benefits of working from home when you have four (and soon five) kids who homeschool is witnessing, and subsequently documenting, their shenanigans.
This is what happens when you leave a tempting item on the kitchen counter within reach of a toddler. A new photo story!
It’s All Good
We believe that children are inherently good. They’re curious about the world around them and are naturally inclined to explore and experiment. When messes happen, we laugh, take some photos and then clean up together.
If you like these slice-of-life photo stories, be sure to check us out on Instagram. We also have a new Facebook page.
Also, here are some more stories on family exploration.
A documentary photographer never rests, even on Memorial Day weekend. Indy 500 race day in Indianapolis means family get-togethers and visits with celebrity cousins. Here’s what comedian Jim Gaffigan has to say about these special family members…
“…the ultimate reason for attending family gatherings is for your children to have the time of their lives with their cousins. Little kids love their cousins. I’m not being cute or exaggerating here. Cousins are like celebrities for little kids. If little kids had a People magazine, cousins would be on the cover. Cousins are the barometers of how fun a family get-together will be. Are the cousins going to be there? Fun!”
A note on approach
If you regularly follow my work and are a photography buff, you might notice these images have more depth of field than what I normally shoot. Many times I like a shallow depth of field to focus the viewer’s eye in a precise spot. Lately, I’ve been shooting more images with increased depth to allow the viewer to take in a scene in more detail.
I like how this works for images like the one above. You can see a number of interactions happening at once while also getting more information about the location for additional context.
Documentary Photographer – Related Posts
If you’re interested in more documentary photography of family-oriented places and events, check these out…
One of the things I enjoy most about shooting this time of year is the diversity of people that come out to celebrate America’s independence. It’s a great reminder that we all love this country and we all are welcome here.
Here’s a slideshow of some of our favorite images celebrating America…
Another stop we made on our holiday tour of Indianapolis was Jingle Rails, presented by The Indiana Rail Road Company, at the Eiteljorg Museum. Eight model trains travel through miniature scenes including downtown Indianapolis, Hollywood, Las Vegas and western landmarks such as the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore. After the Jingle Rails photos, you’ll see a few general shots of the museum which has plenty to explore too.
Jingle Rails runs through January 15th, so be sure to check it out!
I had a co-op day recently at my kids’ preschool and thought I’d take a few photos. It’s a kind and loving environment where kids can explore their own interests in their own ways. They spend time outside every day, including in the rain and snow.
Scroll through the gallery below to see what it’s like on a typical fall day with a group of three and four-year-olds. You’ll see them playing with some kindergarteners on the playground, too.
CarmelFest is a big Independence Day celebration held every year on July 3rd & 4th in Carmel, Indiana. Since 2012, I’ve participated in the event as a sponsor and “official photographer”. I enjoy living in a smaller city where I get to see so many people I know celebrating our country together as a community. It’s also nice to have a shoot where I can drink beer and eat fried dough and it isn’t frowned upon.
Every color, race, religion and orientation is welcome in the United States. And that’s a lot of what makes it a fantastic place to live. As descendants of immigrants, our household proudly celebrates this heritage. I love this theme of diversity in America so much that we created a slideshow to celebrate it. You can see it here.
One of my favorite aspects of shooting festivals & fairs like CarmelFest are the common themes of: joy with family and friends, a sense of community, service, respect for veterans, the enthusiasm of children, and the bonding qualities of music and food. And don’t forget about some good ol’ fashioned American entrepreneurship!
And let’s not forget fireworks…Fireworks are tricky to shoot, which you probably know if you’ve ever tried to get a decent image of them in action. Maybe in the future, I’ll pull together a “how to shoot” fireworks post. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy mine.
If you’re in the sharing spirit, send this post along to some friends & family. And we’d love to hear about your favorite July 4th memories in the comments below! Prints for these events are available in our shop and we always share 20% of the proceeds for prints with a partner charity.
Want more photos celebrating America? View these additional posts…